A group led by Todd Boehly, who also owns a stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Lakers, dick clark productions and who is currently the caretaker CEO of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, has agreed to terms to acquire the English soccer club Chelsea in a deal worth almost $5 billion.
If approved by the UK government and the Premier League, the sale price would be the most ever paid for a sports franchise. The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times are pegging the price at around £4.25 billion, which the club mostly confirmed late Friday. Deadline’s sister publication Sportico also has details of the deal.
Chelsea FC, in a statement tonight, said that “Of the total investment being made, £2.5bn will be applied to purchase the shares in the Club and such proceeds will be deposited into a frozen UK bank account with the intention to donate 100% to charitable causes as confirmed by [former owner] Roman Abramovich. UK Government approval will be required for the proceeds to be transferred from the frozen UK bank account.”
It added that “the proposed new owners will commit £1.75bn in further investment for the benefit of the Club. This includes investments in [the team’s stadium] Stamford Bridge, the Academy, the Women’s Team and Kingsmeadow and continued funding for the Chelsea Foundation.”
The club said it expects the sale to the U.S.-born Boehly to be completed by month’s end.
The London-based soccer power, the reigning UEFA Champions League title-holder, has been the subject of a speedy sale and auction after previous longtime owner Abramovich was forced to end his ownership because of the Russian oil magnate’s perceived close ties to Vladimir Putin after Russia invaded Ukraine. Abramovich, who has said he will not profit from the sale, has been attempting to broker a peace deal between the sides while he and other oligarchs have seen their assets frozen amid the invasion backlash.
Boehly is chairman and CEO of Eldridge Industries, which owns MRC and dick clark productions, the latter of which produces the HFPA’s Golden Globe Awards. He is teaming in the deal with Clearlake Capital, real estate mogul Jonathan Goldstein, Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss and Guggenhiem Partners CEO Mark Walter. Walter is partnered with Boehly in ownership stakes in the Dodgers and Lakers.
MRC and Deadline and Sportico parent PMC are teamed in the joint venture PMRC, which houses PMC’s Rolling Stone, Variety and Music Business Worldwide interests along with MRC’s The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and Vibe.
The Boehly consortium last week was awarded first bidding position for Chelsea, ahead of rival bids including a last-minute pitch by UK chemicals billionaire Jim Ratcliffe.